Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote was over the moon when he won his first Group 1 with Woorim at Caulfield today.
Jockey Damian Browne bought Woorim from last to score by a nose in a blanket finish in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
Heathcote has been chasing his first Group 1 victory for a while and has had several placings with his other stable star Buffering running into Black Caviar in recent times.
With plenty of pace up front the 1100m sprint was always going to be set up for a run on horse and Woorim slotted right into this category.
Browne had Woorim at the tail of the field on the home turn when Kerrin McEvoy had Sepoy in full throttle trying to pinch a break.
But under the 58kgs, Sepoy who started the $3.20 favourite was unable to kick away and faded to wind up in fifth spot just ahead of Bel Sprinter ($3.30) who had no luck at all after missing the start.
Outsider Elite Falls ($51) was strong at the finish and got to the front for a moment before getting nabbed on the line by Woorim with $26 chance Facile Tigre filling the placings.
Heathcote bought Woorim to Melbourne in the Spring where he was successful at Moonee Valley and then Flemington at Group 3 level but was able to crack it in the top level.
“Even though he was back last, he had Damian Browne on top and he just knows what the horse could do,” Heathcote said.
“A Group 1 is the golden chalice for a trainer. The 1100m I thought might be a bit short but with the pace on I knew he would come with a rush.”
Heathcote will now line up Woorim in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10 and now that he has broken his Group 1 duck has to be given a good chance.
Browne was still last on Woorim at the 300m but had him on the outside and winding up and only joined the leading pack at the 50m.
“I knew he would hit the line hard and I am thrilled to win a Group one for Rob,” Brown said.
Woorim got out to start at $21 but looked a 100-1 chance at the 400m before Browne stated to wind him up and in the end overpowered the leaders.